While most Lebanese were busy decorating Christmas trees and shopping for gifts last weekend, a crowd of young Lebanese IT enthusiasts were enjoying an emotional beneficence of a different kind with Microsoft. On December 10th and 11th at Berytech Mansourieh, Microsoft Lebanon held its first Windows Phone Dev Camp, a two-day workshop that illuminated the way for technology fanatics whose hearts beat wildly for technology's latest buzzword, Apps, and Microsoft's long-awaited offspring, Windows Phone.
The event comes as an initiative by Microsoft Lebanon to enable and empower the growing generation of Lebanese IT enthusiasts, not only to be part of the worldwide IT revolution but also to actively participate in driving it. Charbel Fakhoury, VP Sales, Marketing & Services, Middle East and Africa Region, Microsoft opened the event with a keynote telling the audience:
"The shift towards knowledge economy can only occur based on education, innovation and entrepreneurship, which is where Microsoft is pulling all its weight today". "With events such as TechDays Beirut and Dev Camps Beirut, we provide the knowledge and skills training that local and talented developers need to unleash their potential, start off a business and hopefully grow and create more job opportunities", added Fakhoury.
From 9 am till 8 pm over the course of two days, over 250 IT students and professional developers gathered in groups around Microsoft's local and regional Windows Phone experts to learn how to create applications for Microsoft's mobile Operating System, Windows Phone. On day one, participants received deep-dive learning sessions about Windows Phone, Silverlight and XNA, Windows Azure toolkit for Windows Phone, Windows Phone Development, Game Development Principals and Coding.
"Windows Phone is built around people and what they love to do; we have organized this event to equip Lebanese developers with the know-how and tools they need to do what they love and take it out to the whole world", said Ghassan Chahine, Developer and Platform Strategy Lead at Microsoft Lebanon.
On day two, the well-grounded developers set free their creativity and put their bright minds, honed skills and advanced tools at work, as they coded and conceived their dream Windows Phone apps. By the end of the workshop, over 37 applications were developed and submitted to the Windows Phone Marketplace via Yallaapps, for users worldwide to enjoy and benefit from them. The workshop saw the participation of truly inspired developers and resulted in the creation of a number of exceptionally smart apps, spanning a vast array of subjects from fashion and tourism through to lifestyle, business and games.
To end in true holiday spirit, Microsoft rewarded the most innovative team of developers with a brand new Windows Phone device. Worms7, the winning team of USJ students who developed the App ‘Dress Box', commented: "It was a very exciting opportunity to take part in this Microsoft unique event as it offered us what we needed most – the hands-on experience in coding and developing apps and the guidance from regional experts"
Participants were encouraged to continue developing their dream apps following the event and submit them to the marketplace through Yallaapps, with a chance to win another Windows Phone device just in time for the New Year.
The briefings also included presentations by business development specialists from Berytech and the Managing Director of ArabNet, the hub for Arab digital professionals and entrepreneurs, who showed the young developers the short and sure way to grow their potential and establish a business in this field using all available opportunities.